When you’re ready to start seriously considering getting on the property ladder, knowing where to start can be daunting, let alone knowing what is realistic. We’ve put together some of tips to help you onto the property ladder.

Start with saving

It’s an obvious one, but saving is also the best place to start when you’re looking to become a first-time buyer. Begin by working out a personal budget to figure out how much you can realistically save every month, leaving yourself enough to cover your basic living costs, utilities and travel.

Once you’re confident in this, you can start to be realistic about the areas in your life where savings can be made and alternatives swapped in, such as switching your morning takeaway coffee for one at the office and limiting buying food on the go.

There are also plenty of apps designed to help maximise your savings, such as those that round-up your spending to pocket the extra change. You’ll be amazed how quickly these things can add up, plus spending apps are also useful for highlighting areas of life where you may be able to make savings.

Review your options for buying

Knowing where to start can be daunting when you’re a first-time buyer, so make sure you do your research. The good news is that there are several options to help you buy a home, including government-led schemes such as Help to Buy, where you need as little as 5% deposit.

However, you might also want to consider options such as Shared Ownership or even coming together with one or two friends to widen your scope for purchasing property. Shared Ownership homes in Brighton can help first-time buyers to establish roots in an area with a place of their own and get a first step onto the ladder.

With Shared Ownership, you buy a share in the property, meaning you only have to pay a deposit on your share price – which can generally range from 5-10%. You will pay rent on the remaining share of the property, which is generally less than rates on the open market, with the option to buy further shares in the property over time.

Meet with a mortgage adviser

Once you’ve completed a bit of research into your options, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a mortgage adviser to discuss these further and get an idea of what you can afford. A mortgage adviser will discuss your income, outgoings, current living situation and property requirements to determine your eligibility show you a variety of mortgage products and help you understand which may be best for you.

Some mortgage advisers are attached to specific lenders, so may only provide you with information on products attached to the lender, whereas some independent advisers will look at the whole market to show you your options. If visiting lender-specific, it’s usually a good idea to meet with a few advisers to get a good overview of the products on the market.

Create a realistic budget

Even with a good idea of what you can afford and what lenders will be able to provide, there are still expenses you’ll need to factor into the buying process, such as the up-front fees for stamp duty and solicitor fees. However, you should also think about the longer-term, such as whether you might expect utilities outgoings to increase or need to carry out any work on your future property.


  • Stamp duty
  • Solicitors fees
  • Valuation and surveying fees
  • Estate agent fees
  • Removal fees
  • Utility setting up and bills
  • Council tax
  • Parking zones

Book some viewings

With your budget and plan in mind, it’s time to get out there and start looking at properties. Check out our short guide on some of the different areas in Brighton and Hove if you’re looking for inspiration, plus our essential questions to ask at a property viewing.

Be prepared to view a good amount of properties in your search and try to remain objective during the process to ensure you go in prepared, ask the right questions and come away with a good balance of information and feeling.

When you’re ready to take the next step, have a look at our guide on asking vs. selling prices.

At Austin Gray, we’ve been helped all types of buyers in Brighton and Hove’s residential property market for over 40 years. If you’d like to speak to local experts about the current environment to get a better idea of you options for buying first-time, please get in touch with us today.